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C’River Assembly debunks attempt to strip Gov Otu of his powers

By Frank Ulom

The Cross River State House of Assembly has refuted the claim that it is attempting to ambush and strip Governor Bassey Otu of his constitutional powers following the passing of the Cross River State House of Assembly Service Commission Amendment Bill.

This was made known in a statement signed by Matthew Okache, Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the 10th Cross River Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, on Thursday.

The statement was in response to an article published on Facebook by one Citizen Ekanem Essien, which said Speaker Ayambem is attempting to strip Governor Otu of his constitutional powers.

“The Cross River State House of Assembly has been apprised of an article written by an individual named Citizen Ekanem Essien, containing misleading information. It is noteworthy that this same individual has authored multiple disparaging articles about the current Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, before he was elected the Speaker.

“However, it is unsurprising that Ekanem is allegedly being sponsored to disseminate false information and create disunity between the Legislative and Executive Arms of Government in the state. Despite this, it is essential to note that both arms maintain a harmonious working relationship. The House of Assembly, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem thoroughly reviews all bills and motions in line with the rules of the House and the people’s first mantra of the Executive Governor, Sen. Prince Bassey Edet Otu.

“Hon. Linus Etim, the member representing the Akamkpa 2 State Constituency, sponsored the Cross River State House of Assembly Service Commission Amendment Bill, which aims to amend certain sections of the law within the sole purview of the House of Assembly. The bill underwent an expedited process following its first reading for amendment on the floor of the House of Assembly.

“It is vital to note that tribal conflict or sentiment does not exist within the Cross River State House of Assembly. The 10th Assembly is committed to enhancing the welfare of its workforce and prioritising the interests of Cross Riverians in all its activities. Finally, it is crucial to mention that although the Governor is solely responsible for appointing a clerk, the Speaker of the House’s recommendation is taken into account.

“It is pertinent to emphasise that despite being an arm of government, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem would never consider creating discord with His Excellency, Sen. Prince Bassey Otu. Furthermore, the public is advised against consuming information from unscrupulous sources, particularly from an individual named Citizen Ekenam Essien, whose identity is questionable,” the statement by Okache read in full.

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Meanwhile, the article by Citizen Ekanem Essien as retrieved by Converseer on Friday, 9 February 2024, reads as follows:

“NEWS UPDATES!!!

In an attempt to ambush and strip the Governor of his constitutional power to appoint Clerk of the House of Assembly, the Speaker of the CRSHA has sponsored a bill seeking the amendment of Cross River State House of Assembly Commision 2024.

It could be recalled that soon after assumption of office as Speaker of the Cross River State 10th Assembly in 2023, Rt Hon Elvert Ayambem tried all he could to install a Clerk of his choice if not the constitutional rights of Mr Governor that rendered his efforts fruitless.

Also to further expose the shady deals of Mr Speaker in rendering the Governor powerless in appointment of the Clerk, the Cross River State Assembly Commission bill 2024 amendment was carried out like a ‘broad-day light robbery” without taking to cognisant the House Roles and due process.

I can authoritatively report that this was the order paper for today(7/2/2024) seating, where
Hon. Linus Etim representing Akamkpa II state constituency is the sponsor of that bill. A reliably gathered information has it that the BILL did n’ot pass through First reading after it was introduced as Notice of Amendment.

As a long and astute Legislator both in lower and upper Chambers of the National Assembly, His Excellency the Governor should endeavour to demand for the Hansard of the First reading from the Speaker or Clerk, as there is none.

I most respectfully call on His Excellency the Governor not to assent or sign the bill, as it’s not in tandem with the constitution and the Civil Service Rule.

I have in my record that even in the national assembly, it is not the Senate president or Speaker that recommend Clerk and Deputy, it is the duty of the National Assembly Service Commission which
I think the best thing to do is to post the woman who is causing this problem in the House of Assembly out to her mother Ministry of Justice where she belongs and might be eventually given a judge in the customary court.

Mr Speaker should henceforth stop creating tribal conflict and sentiment in the State House of Assembly and allow the most qualified person in a person of Mr Patrick Edi as already been recommended by the Cross River State Assembly Commission to His Excellency the Governor to stand.

This same scenario played out when Mr Akiba, the current Clerk was due to step in as Clerk but Rt Hon Elvis Ayagbem as Speaker suppressed it to point that House of Assembly was divided in chaos before right thing was done.

Let me state here for the sake of emphasis that during Governor Imoke’s Administration, one Barr. Odok who was a director legal attempted it and Imoke posted him out of Assembly.
Also, in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, a similar case occurred and Barr. Umoren was posted out of Assembly, this is open for fact finding as Uyo is our neighbouring city. And never in history has one legal draft Officer can make a clerk in the House of Assembly.

To avoid causing chaos in the Assembly, Barr. Catherine Ubi should be posted out without delay to safe Cross River State House of Assembly from unnecessary faceoff with the Executive Governor and Assembly Service Commission.

In conclusion, I have the honour to call on His Excellency not to assent to such bill as it did not follow the basic House Roles.

Constitutionally, it is unethical to see a speaker recommending clerk to the Governor, what then is the duty of the Assembly Service Commission?

H E, the Governor should seek advice of the number one Law Officer of the State, Hon Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the State for more clarifications before signing such a currogate bill into law.

Citizen Ekanem Essien
A voice in Paradise and DG CR Filter Room.”

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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